CEDLA Events 2020
No More Innocence: Central America, Migration, and the Crisis of Containment
Anthony Fontes, School of International Service. American University
The Central American migration crisis has become a flashpoint in US national debates over humanitarian, identity and security politics. As such, it provides a key lens through which to consider how evolving structures-of-feeling shape US immigration policies as well as broader trends in US public sentiment about how to represent (and target) what some scholars have self-reflexively called “human waste” – that is, those who must be excluded by any means necessary. What are the submerged rules of engagement, so to speak, that so violently devalue the lives and deaths of Central American migrants—and other impoverished migrant populations around the world— in this historical moment? Drawing on fieldwork in Central America, US asylum courts, and migration routes through Mexico, this presentation explores the walls thrown up to contain and conceal the spectacles of insecurity and suffering driving Central Americans north.
This lecture took place on 20 November 2020 as part of the CEDLA Lecture Series
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